What is a UTI?
When bacteria get into your child’s urinary tract through some means and stay there, they cause an infection called a UTI (urinary tract infection). Mostly, bacteria come out when your child pees and no UTI results. The urinary tract includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder and the urethra. Urine is filtered by the kidneys, sent to the bladder through ureters and finally passed out of the body through the urethra.
What increases the risk for a UTI?
Having a shorter ureter comparatively and, thus, allowing the bacteria to enter the urinary tract more easily, girls tend to catch a UTI more often. The followings increase the risk for a UTI in toddlers.
- After urinating or having a bowel movement, poor wiping from back to front.
- Not urinating frequently.
- Facing constipation too often.
- Not being circumcised (boys)
Signs of a UTI in toddlers younger than 2 years
- Bad smelling urine
- Poor feeding or slow weight gain
Signs of a UTI in toddlers older than 2 years
- Urgent need to urinate or urinating more often than normal, but urinating very little
- Pain or a burning feeling when urinating
- Very bad smelling urine
- Fever and chills with Nausea
How to diagnose a UTI?
At the very outset, the physician will ask about your child’s signs and symptoms in detail. He may also press on your child’s stomach, sides and back to check if he or she is feeling pain at the moment. Then he will test your child’s urine for the infection causing bacteria. If your child happens to catch a UTI quite often, the physician will have to take other tests of the urine to help find the root cause.
The safest way to treat a UTI
Once infected, your toddler will have to be treated by the relevant antibiotics alone, for this is the best and safest way to treat an infection. If your toddler is too young to take the antibiotics orally, he or she may have to be injected intravenously.
Prevention of a UTI
You can help prevent your toddler from getting a UTI if you care for the following precautionary measures. It will definitely go a long way towards UTI prevention without antibiotics.
- Make sure that your toddler urinates as soon as he or she needs to. Educate him or her not to hold the urine for a long period.
- Encourage your toddler to increase his or her intake of liquids in order to help flush the bacteria out of the body through urination. Always try to remain aware of how much liquid your toddler should drink a day and also which type of liquid suits him best. Make sure that your child does not drink caffeine or citrus juices too often so as not to enhance irritation in his or her bladder. Cranberry juice often helps prevent a toddler from getting a UTI, thus proving an efficient UTI drink.
- Wipe or wash your toddler from front to back thoroughly after he or she has urinated or made a bowel movement. Also keep teaching him or her how to do so personally. This preventive measure will help prevent the germs from getting into the urinary tract of your toddler.
- Always ensure that your toddler never has to face constipation, for it enhances the risk for a UTI. Ask his or her physician how to keep him or her away from constipation on the regular basis.
In spite of all the above said care, if your toddler has been vomiting, suffering from fever and showing no signs of improvement for two to three days, kindly rush to his or her physician at the earliest.